Find something you are passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it. This week Behind the Lens we catch up with Olivia Lai aka @hkfoodsnob, who is a well-known local food blogger and has captured the attention of various lifestyle publications in Hong Kong. We sit down with Olivia to talk about food, photography, and tips for aspiring Instagram food bloggers.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself? What do you do besides your passion for food?
My name is Olivia, and I was born here in Hong Kong before spending 10 years in the UK where I studied Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. After graduation, I relocated back to Hong Kong permanently. Besides running my food blog on Instagram, I am also a full-time marketer for the luxury industry by day.
How do you see the role of food photography on your Instagram account? Do you find your followers are more inspired by the photos or by the comments you make on the dishes?
In the world of Instagram, the photos are what initially captures the attention of your followers. But to gain traction and really captivate your audience, you need to add hooks to your captions. For me, I would say my hook is to be honest and share my true thoughts about the dishes.
What gear do you use to document your dining experiences?
Mostly, I use my handy iPhone XS to document my food journey. I appreciate food by how it reflects in my eyes, so a mobile phone is perfect to capture the moment.
Can you share your very favourite food shot on your Instagram? What’s the story behind it?
My favourite food shot would be of our home-made steak and egg! I still remember how delicious it tasted! And it looked very photogenic!
In your point of view, what kind of food image is the most engaging content on your blog?
For me it would be images that capture a moment that triggers your sensory emotions. For example, juicy and succulent steaks, when the sheen of the perfectly cooked meat is captured by the camera in all its glory.
Your photos look so yummy and inspiring! Could you give us a few tips on how to take great food photos even when dining out in non-optimal situations?
I usually bring along my handy portable LED video light with me at all times. Even though you might get weird stares, getting the ideal shots makes it worth it.
What is your favourite type of food to shoot?
I would say Sushi! And a restaurant’s lighting does matter! Any photo of sushi is worthwhile in my books, but I personally like the lighting at Sushiya.
Favourite restaurant in HK?
There are a few. But I would say my favourites are 8 1/2 Otto e mezzo in Central and Full House Seafood Restaurant in Whampoa
What advice would you give to new food bloggers?
Always be truthful to yourself! Also, I suggest new food bloggers to be adventurous! Try out as many places as possible. Eventually you will be able to find your own hook with your content, as well as your own unique style when it comes to food blogging.
Regarding food photography, I would always try to place the food at the centre of the grid. Personally I like the subject matter to be the centre of attention, but that’s only my preference. Using Instagram’s in-app grid function is particularly useful for identifying the central position of your dish in the photo.
As an early adopter of the Dishtag app, what do you like most about it?
Yes, I have! I enjoy the user experience, and the user interface is very easy to get used to.